September 12, 2011

Interview - Sarah Hennessey

There's a lot of nice stuff in the Feeling Stitchy Flickr group. And then there's stuff that's so nice that we need to know a bit more about it. As in the case of Sarah Hennessey. Her stitcheries are very colourful and graphic - you can't help but be cheerful when you see it. Lots of flowers, lots of houses and cityscapes. Nice stuff.

Check out her Flickr stream and her shop: Sometimes I Swirl. Sarah also has a blog. And would you believe it, she designs fabrics too, check it out on Spoonflower!

Thank you, Sarah!

Teal, Pink and White Embroidered Mandala by Sarah Hennessey
What inspires your embroidery?
I'm always inspired by abstract, symmetrical designs (mandalas), circles, concentric things, anything with great line. Also, color is really important to me, so I might base an entire piece around one color of thread, or around something I see in real life (for example, a teal pillow helped me decide on the color scheme above). It's kind of funny, because I am so strongly inspired by the simple, classic combination of black-and-white as well. If something is B&W and has good, clean design, oh I am such a sucker for it.
Natural themes influence me too, so I really enjoy embroidering leaves, abstract flowers, etc. I have quite a few books on traditional mehndi design, Italian textile floral designs, etc., so I find all of that incredibly interesting.

Colorful Flower Garden with Swirls2
Where's your favourite place to stitch?
I can sew anywhere as long as I have background noise. Most nights after work, this means lounging on my comfy couch with episodes of The Office going and a kitty assistant at my side. I also love to sit outside on my front porch and sew with my ipod on shuffle.

What perceptions of embroidery do you meet?
Honestly, because we are seeing more sewing, embroidering, cross-stitching, quilting and knitting/crocheting in the art scene (and especially on etsy and blogs), people are very positive and supportive when I tell them that I embroider. I've had a lot of girls my age even respond with: "I really want to learn how to embroider!" and I always tell them yes, yes they should because it's amazing and therapeutic and wonderful and fun. The fact that so many artists are trying out fiber art means that we're slowly cutting down the idea that only crotchety old cat ladies are embroidering and sewing and quilting.

Constellation City Embroidered Hoop Art3
Do you have a favourite stitch?
The majority of my shapes/outlines are created by using a split stitch, and I love how solid and sturdy a line of split stitches looks, so that's perhaps my favorite? The thing is, I am completely self-taught, and when I started, I didn't even know that the split stitch was called the split stitch, same goes for the running stitch, seeding, couching, etc. Lately, I've been experimenting a bunch by looking up tutorials on youtube - which, side note, is pretty awesome, because a lot of the ladies uploading embroidery stitch tutorials are British, so I'm learning new techniques by way of amazing British-accent-instruction! I have been doing some pieces lately that are comprised solely of french knots, and I'm getting much faster at doing those and am stabbing myself with the needle far less than when I first started, so they might be inching to the front as a favorite, as well.

Green Embroidered French Knot Color Study by Sarah Hennessey
Do you have a favourite project that you have made?
I have a few favorite projects, and I like them all for very different reasons. I'll always have a soft spot for the very first project I embroidered, when I didn't know a thing and was just winging it. The lines are sort of dreadful in spots, but on a whole, I didn't think it turned out too awful, so I listed it in my shop.
Another piece which is very dear to me, is this one, I just really like the white-on-black look and it was just incredibly fun to make. And, okay, one more... I just love this one because it's slightly weird and yet captivating and it was also lots of fun to figure out.


  1. I LOVE her work. I think I mark most of her things as my favorites on flickr! lol
    I'm so glad I found this blog!! : )
    stitching in Saskatoon

  2. Yay! I'm so glad you featured Sarah! I just did a mini-interview with her on my blog too!

    i <3 her embroidery!